Monday, May 22, 2017

What's in Your Backpack? Theme Park Essentials for Ultimate Summer Fun

The countdown to summer is on! Kids all across the country are excitedly awaiting a summer vacation full of fun in the sun! For parents who are busily planning their kids’ summer activities, theme parks are almost certainly at the top of your list. Make sure to be prepared for a day at the theme park with your family by making sure you pack these must-have items:

Tickets- There’s nothing quite as bad as getting to the front of a theme park admission gate with excited kids only to realize you left the tickets on the dining room table. While most amusement parks now accept digital passes on your mobile device, some smaller theme parks keep it old-school, demanding traditional paper tickets for admission. Play it safe and take care to put the tickets in your backpack when you first get them, so your summer doesn’t turn into a bummer!

Sunscreen- You will want to bring a bunch of souvenirs home from the theme park with you, but a red, peeling face and back shouldn’t be one of them! Slather on ample amounts of sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30 or higher about 30 minutes prior to hitting the sun, and be sure to reapply at least once per hour, or anytime you have gone on a water ride. Not only will you minimize your risk of skin cancer in the long term, but you won’t have to deal with achy, peeling skin in the short term.

Reusable water bottle- Staying hydrated is always important, and when your plans include walking around a busy amusement park all day in 90-degree heat, making sure to drink enough water becomes a literal matter of life and death. Not only can dehydration-related sickness put a damper on your theme park visit, it can also lead to heat stroke and other, more serious medical problems. Simply pack a reusable water bottle for each member of the family and make sure to keep it filled with fresh water all day long.
A change of clothes (including underwear!)- People tend not to think of packing a spare change of clothes for all the potty-trained members of their family, but take a moment to consider how many water-related rides there are at a typical amusement park. Even if it isn’t a full-fledged water park, there is bound to be at least one attraction where the first three rows get wet. Avoid that sloshy, uncomfortable feeling by taking time to pack a change of clothes, including underwear, for everyone.

Have any tips for making an amusement park trip even better? Let us know in the comments section.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chef Mark - Summer Butternut Squash Salad

Learn how to make a simple and healthy recipe for dinners and lunches. Butternut Squash Salad is a great summer option that will make you want more. This is a super simple meal that your friends and family will want to try. Go ahead and cook with Chef Mark today!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fit in Fitness: 4 Exercise Tips for the Busy Mom

Being a mom is a full-time job. You get no pay, no sick days, no vacation time, and have to report to work really early in the morning (not to mention being on-call all night long!) Add your career, housework, other family members and friends to that crazy schedule and there is absolutely no time for anything else, including regular exercise, right? Not necessarily, say some fit moms who manage to make time for fitness. Here are a few tips on how to make exercise a part of your routine even when you feel like you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom by yourself.

Make it the first thing you do- In order to keep your commitment to fitness, you may have to get up even earlier to make it happen. Not only can rising an hour before your children usually wake up give you ample time to complete regular workouts, but you can reward yourself post-sweat with a little bit of that “me time” you may be missing. Nothing quite like a quiet, uninterrupted cup of coffee before the day gets crazy!

Make a standing appointment- Chances are you already have a jam-packed calendar, what with all the doctor and dentist appointments, taekwondo practices, and dance recitals your kids need to attend. Why not make your workout a regularly-scheduled appointment too? The act of physically adding your gym time to a calendar will cement it into your mind as a fixed, non-negotiable appointment, as well as give Dad and the kids a heads-up that they’re on their own come Saturday morning, when Mom’s at her Zumba class!

Forget how you look and focus on how you WILL look- Let’s face it: after having kids, our bodies don’t exactly snap back into their original, pre-pregnancy shapes. The sudden change in our body types can really wreak havoc on our self-confidence, making us less than eager to tug on that Spandex activewear and hit the gym. Relax- here’s a secret: NOBODY looks that great while they’re sweating through a workout, and NOBODY who is exercising is even going to notice. So skip the makeup and the fancy gym clothes and wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. After all, you will love the way you look after making fitness a part of your life!

Walk throughout the day- One of the nicest things about walking is that it is an exercise you can literally do anywhere! Squeeze in short, brisk walks throughout your day, take a long walk on your lunch break, or simply choose to walk instead of drive whenever possible. This will not only get your heart rate going and burn calories, but getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the mindful contemplation that comes with walking can be as good for your soul as it is for your body!

Do you have any exercise secrets for the mom on the go? Share your fitness tips for busy moms in the comments section.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cooking with Chef Mark - How to select the right kitchen knife

There are tons of different shaped knifes out there and people can find themselves confused as to which knife works best for specific items to cut in the kitchen. Chef Mark is here to show you a couple of his go-to knifes that work best for certain types of food. Learn about 5 different types of knifes and what to use them for..

Here are the knifes he showcases in this video:

Chef Knife- Used 90% of the time in the kitchen
Fillet Knife- Super flexible for fish cutting
Boning Knife- Great for use of cutting around joints and bones in various meats
Serrated Knife- Best for Breads, but can also be used for cutting other items.
There are a couple other specialty knifes that he covers that you will want to look into.

What is your go-to knife in the kitchen? Share it with us in the comment section.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

De-Stress with These 4 Easy Yoga Moves

For centuries, people have been practicing yoga as a way to center themselves, find balance, and restore energy. Many people swear by yoga, not just as a fitness practice but as a way of life. Next time you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or just in need of a break, try one of these simple yoga poses and feel the stress melt away! (Special thanks to thisarticle from the Huffington Post for the awesome photos and explanations of each pose.)

Child’s Pose

A perennial favorite among yoga newcomers, both for its simplicity and nearly instant calming effect. The child’s pose, or Balsana, can calm stress and anxiety by resting the mind and gently stretching your back at the same time.

Corpse Pose
Sure, the name’s a bit morbid, but ironically you’ll feel much more alive after spending a few minutes in the Corpse Pose, or Savasana. Easy to master, simply lie on your back with your legs extended and arms down by your sides in order to trigger your body’s natural relaxation response for the stress relief you need.

Cat Pose
Meow! Arching your back with your head tucked down in the Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, provides a much-needed spine massage that releases the tension in your neck and back. Not only does Cat Pose feel great, but it also channels your focus towards your breathing, which can give you a sense of calm and relaxation.

Eagle Pose
Feeling up for a challenge? Have really good balance? Give Eagle Pose, or Garudasana, a try! This pose which twists your body into an elegant pretzel as you stand on one foot not only looks super cool and gives you instant yoga street cred, but basically forces you to focus on balance and balance only. A great way to block out all the noise and distraction that was stressing you out in the first place.

What’s your favorite de-stressing yoga pose? Please share in the comments section. Namaste!